The last few months have been a bit of a blur. I’ve started and stopped writing a dozen times, easily distracted by work emails, Benji’s giggles, or the cushy pillows on my bed 🙂
Parenthood is challenging, insanely challenging. My husband and I balance daycare drop off/pick up, two demanding work schedules, family time, dog walks, cleaning up the house, and keep the fridge stocked. I’ve learned so much the last few months about motherhood, marriage, and self care (among other things). I’m sharing my five biggest takeaways below. By far the biggest is that things are not always easy, and that’s OK.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others. From the moment we announce a pregnancy there is advice coming from everywhere and everyone. There are so many decisions, from the birth plan and name to the types of wipes we plan to use (all baby conversations end up with a conversation about poop). Remember that every pregnancy is different and everyone has their own parenting style and/or career goals. Your journey may look a bit different, but you are exactly where you need to be.
A reminder too that expectations are often implied through social media. We only see what a parent chooses to post.
Ask for help
I have yet to meet a parent who can do it all on their own. One of the hardest things I’ve learned is that asking for help is ok. I deserve five minutes to shower and brush my teeth, and you do too 🙂 Whether that’s calling in reinforcements or asking your spouse to take over, do not be afraid to speak up. I’ve met several couples that have hired postpartum nurses, doulas, and/or nannies to help, a great way to create time for some mommy and daddy time too.
These days my son is in daycare full-time and he’s made huge strides in development since starting. His days are spent with professionals that know how to help at every stage of development. I love watching him learn, grow, and explore.
Order online to save time and stress
Whomever thought of groceries delivered clearly had parents in mind. Thank you Amazon! As much as I love grocery shopping (really, I do), getting to the store with a baby is challenging. Nowadays I sneak in a grocery haul in between meetings or before grabbing my son from daycare. It’s a quick sprint with a ready-made grocery list. Ordering online saves time and stress. Amazon Fresh and Thrive Market are both great options.
The planning never ends with a baby. My husband and I spend Sunday night comparing schedules, coordinating daycare drop off/pick up, dog care, and allocating time for workouts. Every night is prep time for the next day: bottles and purees for daycare, extra outfits for blowouts (Benji is a big pooper), walking the dog, and getting mentally prepared for the following work day.
I feel like I’m constantly planning and crossing off items on my mental to-do list. Of course there have been times I’m out of diapers or a backup outfit, but…sh*t happens 😉
Although I do not use a specific app to stay organized (I probably should), my husband and I have used the Baby Connect app since day one. We track Benji’s medications, food, and diapers so we are both on the same page. He still eats every 2 ½ hours, so this helps us better understand his schedule.
Find Your Mom Tribe
One of the hardest things about moving to Seattle is being a new mom far from family. I’ve met some amazing women in Seattle so far, but that is not without effort. This quote from a recent EveryMom article captures it best. Sometimes you really need a good friend to understand what you’re going through.
“Finding your tribe, whether it is 10 people or 2 is so important. It is key to find someone who can understand the annoyance of watching your husband sleep at night while you’re awake for feedings, the joy of hearing your baby laugh for the first time, the sadness of your baby growing out of a size of clothing, and all the things in between that make motherhood simultaneously the best thing on earth and the hardest thing you’ve ever done. The simple act of being heard and understood goes a long way for your mental health. Your mom tribe lets you know you are not alone.” -–Lindsey Bybee, blogger and mom of three
My husband and I live a very go, go, go lifestyle these days. Now that I have a better understanding of the challenges of being a working parent, I have even more respect for my parents, and all of the incredible men and women that do it everyday.